Monday, June 22, 2009

Irrevent Cookbook Pokes Fun at Battle of Sexes

The other day we received a great donation to our cookbook collection titled “The Chauvinist Guide to Gourmet Entertaining” by Stan Fedyszyn. It’s a paperback; has a copyright from 1980; and is 190 pages. It sold for $5.95.

The book focuses on eight complete, seven-course dinners in American, French, Russian, Poynesian, Chinese, Polish, Mexican and Italian cuisines.

As you might guess, this book has an interesting viewpoint. It is designed, as it says in the introduction, to be used “against the enemies of the Male Chauvinist Pig.” The goal of the book is to show men how to cook to impress a woman. In fact, the woman is referred to as “the Fox” throughout the book.

Here’s another passage that you might find interesting:

“What we have tried to do is create a system where a good cook can be made to look like a super one by playing on her sympathies and her naïve prejudices. For instance, no Chinaman in his right mind would eat the Chinese meal the way we suggest that you serve it. The Chinese prefer a style akin to the buffet, as opposed to courses. But she, the Fox, won’t know that. In all the movies she’s watched on the Late Show, Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn eat seven course meals. That’s what she wants and that’s what she’ll get, regardless of what the Chinese Embassy says.”

Classy stuff, eh? So far, I’m just quoting from the introduction, which comes with a serrated edge with instructions from the author to cut it out and burn it once it has been read.

Are we happy to have this book? Of course. It’s not just another gimmicky cookbook that is trying to find its niche. It’s an artifact that is of tremendous value to us and to researchers and scholars down the road. They’ll be might amused by this bit of culinary history.